Coral Connections
meet the scientists

Ninety-nine percent of the water in the Yucatan Peninsula is ground water. Scientists Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra and Roberto Iglesias-Prieto are working together to study the impact of the continental waters on the Mesoamerican Reef. Through the Center for Studies on Water, they are trying to unveil the mystery of how much water there is, where it’s coming from, the quality of it, and, if there are any contaminants, where they are coming from.

Coral reefs are the largest living structures on earth and the richest repositories of marine biodiversity. Mario and Roberto’s immediate objective is to help educate everyone who visits and inhabits the Mesoamerican Region about how to protect the coral reefs - that in return - protect the pristine coastline of this paradise.

“During Hurricane Wilma (2005) we had the opportunity to test this with numbers. The energy released just by the waves during this 16-hour period of the storm was equivalent to 25 atomic bombs like the one in Hiroshima. Out of these 25 atomic bombs, only 0.2 bombs were released inside the reef. So the protection of the coastline was incredibly high,” Roberto reports.
Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra, Ph.D., Geo-Physicists and Geologist
Mario Rebolledo-Vieyra is the director of the Center for Studies on Water in Mexico that researches the hydrogeology of the Yucatan Peninsula. He works on a research program, "Ground water and nutrients impact Puerto Morelos Reef", that focuses on the impact of the continental waters on the Mesoamerican Reef. His analysis quantifies and maps the origins of sediment and nutrient runoff that threaten the reef. Mario received his Bachelor's degree in Oceanology from the School of Marine Sciences of the Autonomous University of Baja California. He received his Masters of Science at the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada, and his Ph.D. at Department of Geology of CICESE.